Business and Politics: Which Drives Which

February 24, 2012


The Italian Academy (Teatro), Columbia University, 1161 Amsterdam Avenue New York, NY 10027

Event Type: 

Business and Politics: Which Drives Which

Presented by the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP) and the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics at Columbia Business School

Cost: Research faculty members and doctoral students who would like to attend this symposium should contact: leadershipethics (AT) gsb (DOT) columbia (DOT) edu. Other students and members of the public can register online:

Politics and Business appear to more intertwined than ever because politics is so salient and ubiquitous in the current American drama in the aftermath of the financial crisis and the policy debates over health, the budget, and regulatory reform policies.  The popular charges are contradictory: politics and politicians intervene in business and the economy according to some, while others claim business intervenes, often by non-transparent means, in politics.  We are in an age in which corporations and unions are given first amendment rights while political donations are veiled behind non-profit organizations (the ‘527’).  Lobbying is viewed as ‘information’ by many, but as ‘legal corruption’ by others.  The financial crisis has surely rendered these issues more salient, where the stakes riding on regulation are reshuffling the flow of money and contributions, while a listless public shows signs of an activism missing from American public discourse for a few decades.

This conference seeks to draw on research and practice in a public forum to discuss the trends in the relations between American business and politics.  The keynote speaker is Professor Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago, former chief economist at the IMF, whose recent book Fault Lines places the origins of the financial crisis on a thesis of failed government policies to address poverty by a wayward intervention in mortgage markets coupled with a financial sector that successfully lobbied for deregulation and yet failed to self-govern.  The subsequent panels consist of academics who will explain and debate what their research says about this thesis of an intervening government that misused markets for social policies and a business sector that influenced government policies to deregulate, and sometimes subsidize, their activities. The final panel is led by a prominent journalist and consists of those at the front-line of these issues.

To register please go to:

For more information please contact Sandra Navalli at


Don't want to miss our interesting news and updates! Make sure to join our newsletter list.

* indicates required

Contact us

For general questions about ISERP programs, services, and events.

Working Papers Bulletin Sign-up

Sign up here to receive our Working Papers Bulletin, featuring work from researchers across all of the social science departments. To submit your own working paper for our next bulletin, please upload it here, or send it to
* indicates required